Before You Get a Reading

If you go for a reading to an astrologer, they will talk in terms of Houses and Signs. For most people who have had minimal exposure to astrology, it is not easy to comprehend what the astrologer is talking about. What is a House and what is a Sign and how to look at your chart? Full zodiac is 360 degrees. In Vedic astrology, there are 9 Planets, 12 Houses and 12 Signs. In Equal House system, each house spans 30 degrees along the ecliptic. The picture below shows the North Indian style of representing a horoscope. First House is on the top in the middle and you go counter-clockwise to 2nd house, 3rd house and so on all the way to the 12th house. Houses are imaginary, Signs are real. 12 imaginary Houses overlay on top of the 12 Signs of the zodiac in the background. The Sign of the First House is known as the Ascendant or the Rising sign – it is the Sign or constellation that was rising on the eastern horizon when you were born. The position of Houses remains fixed in every chart i.e. the 1st House will always be on top in the middle, 2nd house next and so on.  But the Sign that each of these houses falls in may change from one person to another depending on their time and place of birth. Houses represent different areas of our life. For example 1st House is the house of our self, our physical body and intellect. Whereas Signs are the environment and tools that are available for the 9 Planets to deliver karma.

CHART

Vishākhā, Ashleshā and Bharani

Saturn and Mars are currently transiting in Anurādhā Nakshatra (lunar mansion). If we look at Sarvatobhadra Chakra (picture below), any planets placed in Anurādhā cast a vedhā (obstruction) on the following 3 Nakshatras: Vishākhā, Ashleshā and Bharani. So if you have important planets (such as Moon, Sun or Lagna) in any of these 3 Nakshatrās, you may be feeling intense pressure. This should ease by mid September. Mars moves out of Anurādhā on August 25 (in the evening pacific time) and Saturn moves out of Anurādhā on Sep 17 (morning pacific time). Until then, Hanumān is the savior.

Anuradha

Jai Bajrang Bali,
Amit

Narasimha Jayanti

Appearance day of Lord Narasimha : 14th Lunar day of the waxing phase of Vaisakha lunar month is celebrated as the appearance day of Lord Narasimha.

Starts: 9:53 am PDT (California time), Thursday, May 19, 2016
Ends: 12:12 pm PDT (California time), Friday, May 20, 2016

SIGNIFICANCE: Lord Vishnu’s 4th incarnation was in the form of half-lion/half-man, known as Narasimha (Nara means man and Simha means lion). In this particular incarnation, he saved the life of his devotee Prahalād from his father who was a demon king Hiranyakashipu. Hiranyakashipu was dead against his son’s devotion to lord Vishnu. He challenged his son that if his Vishnu is real, he should appear in front of him and save him. Lord Vishnu did. Hiranyakashipu had received a boon that he cannot be killed by a man or an animal, he cannot be killed during day or night time, he cannot be killed inside or outside, he cannot be killed on the earth or in the sky and he cannot be killed by any weapon. So lord Narasimha (who was neither a man nor an animal) killed Hiranyakashipu at dusk (neither day nor night time) at the doorway (neither inside, nor outside), on his lap (neither on the earth nor in the skies) by piercing his chest with his nails (without any weapon). Lord Vishnu always answers the prayers of his sincere devotees.

Narasimha Mahā Mantra:

Narasimha

Mars the King

For the next 7 days, Mars is the king. Mars is final dispositor (ruler) of all the planets in the skies for the next 7 days. What this means is that all the other 8 planets are in the signs which are ultimately ruled by Mars. For example: Jupiter is in Leo which is ruled by Sun — Sun is in Aries which is ruled by Mars — And Mars itself is in its own sign Scorpio. Let us take another example: Ketu is in Aquarius which is ruled by Saturn — Saturn is in Scorpio which is ruled by Mars — And Mars again is in its own sign Scorpio.

So if we honor Mars at this time, we will in turn be honoring all the 9 planets. Here are a few things you can do to bring positive energies of Mars:

  • Chant Hanuman Chalisa.
  • Simple mantra for Mars: Om Mangalaaya Namaha. ॐ मङ्गलाय नमः
  • Beej mantra for Mars: Om kraam krim kraum sah bhaumaaya namah. ॐ क्रां क्रीं क्रौं सः भौमाय नमः
  • Do Hatha yoga because Mars is a physical planet.
  • Volunteer physical labor.
  • Mars is in Anuradha Nakshatra right now which is connected with Radha, the consort of Krishna and embodiment of love. Bhakti and devotion as exemplified by Radha is the best remedy.

Jai Radha Madhava https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jOeYOMMmWSc

One Grain of Rice Offered to Krishna

Whether glass is half empty or half full does not matter. We are asking the wrong question. Every single drop of water in the glass has the potential to quench the thirst of entire cosmos. Each drop is as powerful as the Ocean itself. Sudama was Krishna’s best friend. He was poor and did not have very many material belongings. One day Sri Krishna visited him unannounced. Sudama did not have anything nice to offer him. All he had was one grain of rice left. Sri Krishna took that grain, put it in his mouth and through that one grain of rice fed all the beings on Earth, the Gods and the entire creation. It was a grain offered with love by a dear friend and a devotee whose heart was as pure as chandan (sandalwood).

PLANETARY COMBINATIONS: Everyone is suffering. We look around and all of us can feel intense pressure one way or the other. We may see people smiling around us but you go beneath the surface and will find out that they are all dealing with so many issues. Mars is aspecting Saturn (4th aspect, exact degree). Saturn in turn is aspecting Moon (3rd aspect) as well as Mars (10th aspect). Sun is with Rahu (same degree). Rahu is aspecting Moon (5th aspect) and is aspecting Mars (12th aspect). This seems like a lot of intense energy. But there is absolutely no progress on the spiritual path without involvement of these malefic (harsh) planets. They are like strict teachers in school. We could not stand them while we were in school but once we graduate, strict teachers are usually the ones we remember fondly and are most thankful for.

ARE WE THANKFUL? If we can breathe fresh air, If we have eyes to be able to see, If we can walk on this Earth, If we have lips to smile, If we have longing for the Divine in our hearts… Then we have enough. Because all that matters is a single drop of water or a single grain of rice.

DEVI PHASE: This morning with the equinox, we entered the Devi phase which lasts for 6 months. Devi is Prakriti. Devi is hidden. Devi is gentle and sensitive. Devi resides in our Heart. As we go within during this phase belonging to Shakti, we will find precious jewels within which were not visible earlier due to blinding external sources of artificial light.

Here is a wonderful chant called Devi Suktam, a collection of sacred versus recognizing the Shakti within: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E-gYCVxw1fg

O Mother, you are the supreme consciousness of the Purusha. Salutations O Devi, the auspiciousness in the auspicious, the prosperity (Lakshmi) of the prosperous. Oh Durga, you enable men to cross the Ocean of the world, You are the life, strength and cause of all.

या देवी सर्वभूतेषु बुद्धि रूपेन संस्थिता |
या देवी सर्वभूतेषु निद्रा रूपेन संस्थिता |
नमस् तस्यै, नमस् तस्यै, नमस् तस्यै, नमो नमः ||

Ya devi sarvabhuteshu buddhi – rupena samsthita
Ya devi sarvabhuteshu nidra – rupena samsthita
Namas tasyai, namas tasyai, namas tasyai namo namah

Oh Divine Mother, who dwells in the form of INTELLIGENCE in all living beings. Oh Divine Mother, who exists in the form of SLEEP in all living beings. Salutations again and again.

Jai Ma!!!

Vaisno-Devi

Sankat Mochan – Hanuman

Hanuman has a very special status among the Hindu deities. He is the son of the wind God. Even Saturn (Shani) could not harm Hanuman when he was going through his Sadhe Sati (the seven and a half year period during which Saturn passes over our natal Moon). At the onset of Hanuman’s Sadhe Sati, Shani came and sat on his back. But Hanuman grew bigger and bigger and squeezed Shani between his shoulders. Shani asked him to let him go. Hanuman agreed on one condition that Shani will not harm Hanuman’s devotees.

Hanuman Chalisa is the most sacred chant for Hanuman, written by saint Tulsidas. It is auspicious to recite this especially on Tuesdays (for Mars) and Saturdays (for Shani).

This is the opening verse of Chalisa:

बुद्धिहीन तनु जानिके, सुमिरौं पवन कुमार ।
बल बुद्धिविद्या देहु मोहिं, हरहु कलेश विकार ॥

Buddhi-Hiina Tanu Jaanike, Sumirau Pavan Kumaar |
Bala Buddhi-Vidyaa Dehu Mohi, Harahu Kalesha Vikaar ||

Meaning: Realizing that I lack Intelligence, I Meditate on You, O Pavan Kumar (Son of the wind). Please bless me with Strength, Wisdom and Knowledge, and take away my Afflictions and Blemishes.

Full Chalisa: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=liKbzGXGokU

Jai Hanuman!!!

meditating-hanuman-QO82_l

Happy Raksha Bandhan

Moon nourishes and heals. 4th house in the chart signifies healing. Moon is the karaka (significator or “controller”) of the 4th house and hence one of the most important factors in evaluating recuperability from diseases. I took the following picture just now with my telescope. Beautiful Full Moon of the Vedic lunar month of Sravana which also happens to be the festival of Rakhi (or Raksha Bandhan) in which sisters tie a sacred thread on the wrist of their brothers and wish for their well being and brothers in turn vow to protect them.

This Full Moon is taking place in the nakshatra of Shatabhisha, which literally means a hundred physicians. Shatabhisha encourages us to embrace alternative or natural healing modalities. And this Full Moon is taking place in Aquarius. It is Aquarius where Siva drank the poison (“halaahal”) to save the creation. It is Aquarius where we reach out to the masses. It is Aquarius where we behave a little eccentric and are able to pull brilliant ideas out of thin air.

Happy Raksha Bandhan!!

Rakhi Full MoonRaksha Bandhan

Abdur Rahim and lord Siva praising Tulsidas

It is Tulsidas Jayanti today, the birthday of saint and poet Goswami Tulsidas. Tulsidas was born during the month of Sravana, on the 7th lunar day (Saptami Tithi) of the waxing half of Moon cycle (Shukla Paksha). It falls on August 21 this year.

Tulsidas was an ardent devotee of Lord Rama. At the time of his birth, he already had all his 32 teeth in place. He was born in lunar constellation of Moola Nakshatra. His family abandoned him considering it to be a bad omen. According to some astrologers, Moola Nakshatra is one of the set of nakshatras known as Ganda Moola that are considered inauspicious. But it is also believed that if a child born in one of these nakshatras survives first few years, he/she grows up to be very intelligent.

Tulsidas was an incarnation of Sage Valmiki. Valmiki composed the original Ramayana in Sanskrit. Tulsidas re-wrote Ramayana in Awadhi dialect of Hindi so that common people could understand. His version is known as the epic Ramacharitmanas.

Lord Siva on Tulsidas: In Bhavishyottar Purana, lord Shiva tells his wife Parvati how Valmiki, who got a boon from Hanuman to sing the glory of Rama, will incarnate in future in the Kali Yuga:

वाल्मीकिस्तुलसीदासः कलौ देवि भविष्यति ।
रामचन्द्रकथामेतां भाषाबद्धां करिष्यति ॥

vālmīkistulasīdāsaḥ kalau devi bhaviṣyati ।
rāmacandrakathāmetāṃ bhāṣābaddhāṃ kariṣyati ॥

O Goddess! Valmiki will become Tulsidas in the Kali age, and will compose this narrative of Rama in the vernacular language. ~ Bhavishyottar Purana

Tulsidas also gave us Hanuman Chalisa. Without Tulsidas, we would not be singing glories of Hanuman in this beautiful lyrical form.

Surdas, a devotee of Krishna and a contemporary of Tulsidas, called Tulsidas as Sant Shiromani (the highest jewel among holy men). Abdur Rahim Khankhana, famous Muslim poet who was one of the Navaratnas (nine-gems) in the court of the Mughal emperor Akbar, was a personal friend of Tulsidas. Rahim composed the following verse describing the Ramcharitmanas of Tulsidas.

रामचरितमानस बिमल संतनजीवन प्रान ।
हिन्दुवान को बेद सम जवनहिं प्रगट कुरान ॥

rāmacaritamānasa bimala santanajīvana prāna ।
hinduvāna ko beda sama javanahi̐ pragaṭa kurāna ॥

The immaculate Ramcharitmanas is the breath of the life of saints. It is similar to the Vedas for the Hindus, and it is the Quran manifest for the Muslims.

Jai Tulsidas!

Goswami Tulsidas

Ancestral worship – Aug 13

Amāvasyā, the New Moon is considered most auspicious for worshiping ancestors. It is said that our ancestors visit the Earth plane on the night of Amāvasyā. “Feeding” our ancestors on this night makes sure that their needs are taken care of so they can focus on showering their blessings on us.

WHEN
Starts at 6:23 AM Pacific Time Aug 13, Thursday morning
Ends at 7:53 AM Pacific Time Aug 14, Friday morning

There are many ceremonies and offerings one can make to ancestors. Some of them include offering a Janeu (sacred thread) to a pipal tree and worship the pipal tree, chanting mantras while going around it 108 times. But in this day and age it is hard to find a pipal tree, let alone do all the rituals associated with it.

Easiest remedy is chanting the following 2 mantras while keeping our ancestors in mind on this day. Pictures of our ancestors should only be hung or displayed on the South wall of the house. It is good to light an incense in front of their picture.

Pitri (ancestral) mantra for Krishna: worshiping ancestors through Krishna.

ॐ नमो भगवते वासुदेवाय नमः
Om Namo Bhagvate Vāsudevāya Namaha

This mantra is for Krishna. Krishna is considered the supreme among ancestors. In Bhagwat Gita Chapter 10, verse 29 Sri Krishna explains:

अनन्तश्चास्मि नागानां वरुणो यादसामहं
पितृणामर्यमा चास्मि यमः संयमतामहम्।।29।।

Of all the many headed non-poisonous Nāgās (deified serpents) I am the divine serpent Ananta. Of all aquatics, I am Varuna, the lord of all beings who live in water. Among the deified ancestors I am Aryamā. Of all administrators of justice, I am Yamarāj, the judge of all beings at the time of death.

Simple Pitri (ancestral) Mantra: In this mantra we are directly invoking them and offering our respects.

ॐ पितृभ्यः नमः
Om Pitribhyaha Namaha

ghee-lamp

Āditya Hridayam – the Heart of the Sun God

Lord Rām was already exhausted in the battle fighting the demons. And now he was faced with the all-powerful Rāvana who was well prepared for the ensuing battle. Lord Rām was in deep thought while looking at Rāvana with full concentration. Sage Agastya and all other Gods had come to witness this epic battle. Seeing the worry and tiredness on Lord Rām’s face, sage Agastya came to Lord Rām and gave him the secret wisdom of Sun worship through Āditya Hridayam.

There are 31 verses in Āditya Hridayam and the following 2 are my favorite.

VERSE 3:
राम राम महाबाहो शृणु गुह्यं सनातनम् |
येन् सर्वानरीन वत्स समरे विजयिष्यसि ||

Rām Rām Mahābāho Shrunu Guhyam Sanātanam |
Yen Sarvānrin Vatsa Samare Vijayishyasi ||

MEANING: ‘O Rama’, ‘O Mighty armed elegant Rama’, listen carefully to the eternal secret by which, ‘O my child’, you shall conquer all your enemies on the battle field and win against your adversaries.

VERSE 5:
सर्वमङ्गल माङ्गल्यं सर्वपापप्रणाशनम् ||
चिन्ताशोक-प्रशमन-मायुर्वर्धन-मुत्तमम् ||

Sarva Mangal Māngalyam Sarvapāp Pranāshanam |
Chintā Shok Prashamana Māyurvardhan-Muttamam ||

MEANING: This supreme prayer is the best amongst auspicious verses, it will destroy all sins, dispel all doubts, alleviate worry and sorrow, anxiety and anguish, and will give longevity and complete prosperity.

FULL HYMN: This is my favorite rendition of Aditya Hridayam: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DIKjaNjN2rA.

Chanting of Āditya Hridayam is especially beneficial on Sundays.

Om Suryāya Namaha!

Surya

Lord Ram 3

Lord Ram recites Aditya Hridayam